Our Team

CAV Angels is headed by a group of individuals who have been successful as private investors, entrepreneurs, and executives.

Managing Director

Rich Diemer

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record. He has served as the CFO at two public and one private, now public global materials companies.

Executive Committee

Jim Cheng
Cofounder

Jim is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and exited an IT services firm that he grew from 5 people to 550 people in 9 years, and has started/led additional ventures since.

Rich Diemer
Cofounder, President/Managing Director, Treasurer

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record. He has served as the CFO at two public and one private, now public global materials companies.

Scott Ukrop
Chair

Scott Ukrop is a Managing Director at NRV, an early-stage venture firm located in Richmond where he now works with NRV’s portfolio companies, particularly those in the consumer packaged goods and food tech space.

Outside of NRV, Scott serves on the boards of two Virginia-based privately held companies and as a board advisor to companies in the food, retail tech, and outdoor tech industries. Scott’s previous experience included work at a national advisory firm, and a managing principal at a Richmond-based design firm which he joined after co-founding a residential construction firm. Scott began his career at Ukrop's Super Markets, a regional grocery chain where he ran marketing and category management. In the community, Scott currently serves on the board of the VCU College of Engineering Foundation and chairs the board of CAV Angels. He also serves on the advisory board of the Trolley Seed Fund and has served as a mentor to StartUp Virginia and 757 Accelerator. Scott received his undergraduate degree at William and Mary, and his MBA at The Darden School at the University of Virginia, where he met his wife, Lilo. Scott and Lilo have three grown children.
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Rahul Keshap
General Counsel

Rahul Keshap is a proud Double Hoo, serves as outside general counsel for CAV Angels and has more than twenty years of legal experience. His law practice in Charlottesville, Shuru Law, serves startups and nonprofits in Virginia and Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Blankenship
EIR

Elizabeth is a climate-tech founder, former fashion designer, and proud 2022 graduate of UVA's Darden School of Business with a specialization in Entrepreneurship.

While a student at UVA, Elizabeth founded her first company, By Eilly, pioneering zero-waste fashion manufacturing at an NYC based facility.Elizabeth won the 2022 UVA E-Cup, Kathryne Carr Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, CBIC Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and co-founded the KPI Club, a female-founder's support group still active across UVA Grounds and beyond.
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Venture Interns

Nicole Krolak
Venture Intern

Nicole is a third year in in the McIntire School of Commerce. She is a 2022 CAV Angels Intern.

Emily Cheng
Venture Intern

Emily is a third year student in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a 2021 CAV Angels Intern.

Carson Breus
Venture Intern

Carson Breus is a rising third-year at the University of Virginia double-majoring in Commerce and Chinese.

Carson is involved in various student organizations at the University; she is the Vice Chair for Sanctions on the Honor Committee, Treasurer of the Gamma Iota Sigma preprofessional fraternity, Head of Internal Affairs at the Virginia Venture Fund, and a content tutor for the Cavalier Academic Support Team. Carson joined CAV Angels through her involvement with the Virginia Venture Fund and is a current intern. She has enjoyed learning more about entrepreneurship through hosting the company pitches and gaining new insight on investment criteria through screening new funding submissions. In addition, she is a part of Girls Who Invest and will be interning at Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. this summer.
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Thomas Russo
Venture Intern

Thomas is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a 2022 CAV Angels Intern.

Tarini Pankanti
Venture Intern
Tarini is a rising second-year in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a 2023 CAV Angels Intern.
Abby Jansen
Venture Intern
Abby is a third year in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Statistics. She is a 2023 CAV Angels Intern.
Mimi Reynolds
Venture Intern

Mimi is a third-year in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Economics and Biology. She is a 2023/24 CAV Angels Intern

Carly Elbaum
Venture Intern
Carly is a second year in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Math and Systems Engineering. She is a 2023/24 CAV Angels Intern. 
Marco Ramirez
Venture Intern

Marco is a first-year in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, majoring in Chemical Engineering. He is a 2023 CAV Angels Intern.

Virginia Peng
Venture Intern

Virginia is a third year at Yale College, majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics with a certificate in Statistics & Data Science. She is a 2023 CAV Angels Intern.

Ryan Haddad
Diligence Associate
Ryan is an MBA candidate at UVA Darden. He has consulting experience in public-private-partnerships, IT strategy, and organizational change consulting. Ryan left consulting and spent 4+ years working in B2B SaaS.
At Monster Government Solutions, Ryan was the Product Owner/Manager for Onboarding Plus+ and helped with its GTM. After MGS, Ryan joined PwC where he was the product manager responsible for the growth of Risk Detect – a fraud detection product. Ryan is an MBA Venture fellow at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund (early/seed stage VC).
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Lydia Sibley
Venture Intern

Lydia is a fourth year PhD Candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program studying the inflammation in the brain during infection. She is a CAV Venture Intern working with the Healthcare Advisory Council.

Lee Johnston
Diligence Associate
Lee has been selected as CAV Angels' Chief of Staff for Summer '23 and will immerse himself in all things CAV interacting with and setting the agenda for Executive Committee meetings, special projects, organizing and participating in the weekly pipeline meetings, performing due diligence, overseeing all member pitches and interacting with the undergraduate interns on screening of funding applicants.
He is a Class of '24 MBA candidate at Darden. Prior to Darden he played for 6+ years as a professional soccer goalkeeper and spent over 2 years in education as a teacher abroad in Sweden
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Legal Board

Scott Ukrop
Board Chair

Scott Ukrop is a Managing Director at NRV, an early-stage venture firm located in Richmond where he now works with NRV’s portfolio companies, particularly those in the consumer packaged goods and food tech space.

Outside of NRV, Scott serves on the boards of two Virginia-based privately held companies and as a board advisor to companies in the food, retail tech, and outdoor tech industries. Scott’s previous experience included work at a national advisory firm, and a managing principal at a Richmond-based design firm which he joined after co-founding a residential construction firm. Scott began his career at Ukrop's Super Markets, a regional grocery chain where he ran marketing and category management. In the community, Scott currently serves on the board of the VCU College of Engineering Foundation and chairs the board of CAV Angels. He also serves on the advisory board of the Trolley Seed Fund and has served as a mentor to StartUp Virginia and 757 Accelerator. Scott received his undergraduate degree at William and Mary, and his MBA at The Darden School at the University of Virginia, where he met his wife, Lilo. Scott and Lilo have three grown children.
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Jim Cheng, JD/MBA
Board Member

Jim Cheng, JD/MBA, is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He founded, led, and successfully exited an IT services firm that he grew from 5 people to 550 people in 9 years, and has started and led additional ventures since.

He served as the Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 4 years, contributing significantly to economic development, job creation, tourism, film, industry regulation and safety, housing, and a number of other commerce-related fields. He is currently of counsel at the law firm of Lee and Hayes and is working with several private equity and angel investment firms. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Engineering.
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Rich Diemer, CPA
Board President

Rich is a respected chemicals industry senior finance executive with a proven track record of working within leadership teams that have created significant shareholder value. He has served as the CFO at two public (Albemarle and PolyOne Corporation) and one private, now public (Trinseo, LLC) global materials companies.

During his tenure, Rich has played a key role in creating over $7 billion of shareholder value. After 17 years in public accounting at KPMG, Rich joined Allied-Signal Inc. He was VP-Corporate Controller during the merger with Honeywell, then became CFO of Honeywell's Specialty Materials segment. In addition, Rich spent four years at Honeywell Capital Management, overseeing equity managers and managing a $500 million+ equity portfolio. Rich is on the McIntire Advisory Board, is a board member and Audit Committee Chair of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media, and serves as a Senior Director at Seale & Associates, a Northern Virginia-based global boutique investment banking and consultancy firm. Rich graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at The University of Virginia in 1980. He is the managing partner of Wickham Glen Holdings, LP, a family office
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Richard Crawford, JD/MBA
Board Member-Emiritus

Richard Crawford is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

He is an experienced entrepreneur having started three companies and an experienced angel investor having made several personal angel investments and run the Virginia Active Angel Network. He has been a member of the Darden Faculty since 1988 and is currently a Visiting Executive Lecturer at Darden where he works closely with Professor William Sihler on the Finance of Small Business course. Richard has has been a member of the Law School Faculty since 2008 where he teaches a course in Finance of Small Enterprises. He holds B.A., MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia and is the author/co-author of five books.
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Greg Benante, MBA
Board Member

Greg is a proud ‘double Hoo’, holding a BA from the College of Arts and Sciences and an MBA from the Darden School of Business in Finance and Accounting.

Greg started his career in SaaS sales and business development and has led sales, growth and corporate development teams at firms such as Bloomberg and Gartner. He loves working with entrepreneurs and helping early and growth stage firms strategize and execute on their funding and expansion initiatives.
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Jesse Ellington, MBA
Board Member

Jess has over 30 years of investment and business experience managing alternative assets and individual portfolios.

Through his experience as a portfolio manager, equity analyst, hedge fund manager and investment management consultant, Jess has been able to generate superior investment results with particular focus on risk management and portfolio diversification. Prior to joining Union, Jess worked for Solaris Capital LLC, FDSI (Wilshire Associates), and Wells Fargo Investment Advisors. Jess is a graduate of The University of Virginia and has an MBA from The Darden School of Business at UVA.
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Nicole Thorne Jenkins
Board Member

Nicole Thorne Jenkins became the John A. Griffin Dean of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia on July 1, 2020. Prior to arriving at McIntire, Dean Jenkins was the Von Allmen Endowed Chair of Accountancy and Vice Dean in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

Prior to Kentucky, she served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis. Dean Jenkins received her Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Iowa and completed her undergraduate work in Accounting and Finance at Drexel University. Her research interests include the investigation of financial reporting failures, share repurchase, and the effect of social networks on performance outcomes. Her teaching experience has focused on financial reporting topics in both executive education, graduate, and undergraduate programs. Dean Jenkins is a Certified Public Accountant and is the immediate past president of the Financial Accounting & Reporting Section of the American Accounting Association. Prior to becoming an academic, she was an Auditor and Consultant at PriceWaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. Additionally, she consults and serves as an expert witness in matters related to financial reporting, valuation, and estimation of damages.
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Christine Mahoney
Board Member

Christine Mahoney is a Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia. She studies social justice advocacy and direct action through social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Her first book Brussels vs. the Beltway (Georgetown University Press) explored how advocates shape public policy in two of the most powerful political systems on the planet: the US and the EU. She conducted fieldwork in 7 conflict zones in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America for her second book Failure and Hope: Fighting for the Rights of the Forcibly Displaced (Cambridge University Press). The book argues we need to advance impact investing in forced displacement solutions for the 80 million people displaced by violent conflict worldwide. To help foster innovative solutions to social problems she launched and leads Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia. Over the past ten years, SE@UVA has introduced courses on social entrepreneurship, a minor, a concept competition, scholarships to work with social enterprises and a myriad of student activities providing hands-on experience in social innovation.
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Jerry Peng
Board Member

Mr. Peng is an investor and entrepreneur, living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mr. Peng was most recently the founder and CEO of a greenfield project in Virginia applying leading innovative technology from China to produce eco-friendly products.

Mr. Peng’s career spans over twenty years in various senior roles across corporate finance, strategy and banking, with global institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Bank. Most recently he served as managing director with Goldman Sachs in Asia, managing corporate financing and derivatives business and corporate securities sales in China. Mr. Peng serves as a trustee on the University of Virginia Darden Business School Foundation Board, and as council member of Darden Global Advisory Council and Batten Institute Advisory Council. He is also a trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ Board. He is co-founder and co-president of the China alumni clubs for Darden and UVA. He earned a BE in Engineering and Finance from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an MBA from the Darden Business School.
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Adriana Gadala-Maria Ochi, MBA
Board Member

Adriana Gadala-Maria Ochi is a Miami, FL native and recent MBA graduate from UVA Darden. Throughout her MBA, Adriana worked at Bessemer Venture Partners, Glynn Capital, and Anorak Ventures while serving as Managing Partner at Dorm Room Fund.

Prior to Darden, Adriana spent nearly a decade building strategic partnerships for companies such as TechCrunch and Reddit. Adriana started her career at Reddit in 2011, where she was an early employee and drove partnerships with F500 companies including Coca-Cola, eBay, and Netflix. Adriana earned her BA from the University of Notre Dame where she studied French and History.
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Nikki Hastings
Board Member

Nikki Hastings is an operations biotech executive and entrepreneurial ecosystem builder with over 15 years of experience with early-stage biotech/medtech and medical device companies. She has held executive management roles at companies across multiple industry sectors including HemoShear Therapeutics, Contraline, and Cerillo.

Dr. Hastings co-founded CvilleBioHub in 2016 and serves as current executive director. Dr. Hastings is also Biotech Track Director in the UVA McIntire School of Commerce, training students at the intersection of business and science. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
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Paul Nolde
Board Member

Paul Nolde has over two decades of experience in the banking, finance, and venture capital sectors, serving in multiple business development and management roles.

As the new Managing Director of Lighthouse Labs, Paul sets the strategic vision for the organization and oversees day-to-day operations in accelerating venture-appropriate startups at the seed stage. Prior to this he served as the Fund Manager and Managing Director of Riverflow Growth Fund, a seed stage, healthcare-focused venture capital firm based in Richmond, VA. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of fund management and investment-related functions. Prior to this he served as a director at NRV, an early-stage venture capital firm also based in Richmond, VA, preceded by sales and strategy positions at multiple national and community banks, as well as managing the angel investment portfolio of a family office in Richmond, VA. He is an active participant in, and advocate for, Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving on the boards of several local and regional organizations, including the Activation Council, CAV Angels (president of the network), The Launch Place Seed Fund (chair of the board), and the Virginia Impact Investing Forum (chair of the board). Additionally, Paul sits on various boards at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia, where he also serves as an adjunct professor of impact investing in its Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He graduated from UVA in 2001 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, complimented by post-grad business studies through the McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute.
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Lily West
Board Member

The University of Virginia Alumni Association’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Jen Finn
Board Member

As a senior executive, strategic advisor, angel investor and founder, Jen has been at the table for a broad range of growth, governance, and strategic challenges. She brings 30 years’ experience driving digital transformation, building digital products, and scaling highly regulated business operations.

She has P&L management and extensive operating experience, regularly advising on operating performance, strategy and industry trends with C-suite, industry peers and regulators.Jen is a transformative leader across corporate innovation and early-stage company formation. Adept at reimagining business models, she has catalyzed organizations to solve complex problems by applying systems thinking, human centered design, and the innovative use of data and technology. After decades of corporate “intrapreneurship” and advising startups, Jen is now experiencing the entrepreneurial journey first hand as Co-Founder and CEO of Hio, a conversational AI platform making multifamily properties easier to live in. Jen is passionate about investing in diverse founders, as well as angel investing as an untapped source of wealth creation for women and minorities. Angel investing since 2009, she is a member of Venture South and serves on the advisory boards of CAV Angels and Trolley Ventures. Her passion goes beyond investing to supporting Central VA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. While at Capital One, she spearheaded endeavors like the 1717 Innovation Center that help connect startups with mentors, programs, investors and other critical resources. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Activation Council, whose mission is to support high growth innovation across Virginia. Originally from Cincinnati, Jen received her BA from the College of the Holy Cross and her MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business. She, her husband, and 3 children are passionate Richmonders.
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Les Alexander
Board Member

Les Alexander is the John Glynn Endowed Professor and a Professor of Practice at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. At Darden, he teaches classes in Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition in the MBA and EMBA programs.

He is also a partner with Jefferson Capital Partners and serves on several for-profit and non-profit boards of directors. Les has experience as an investment banker and a corporate executive. He received his B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia and his MBA from the University of North Carolina.
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Doug Garland
Board Member

Doug Garland is a technology executive and entrepreneur, a veteran of the waves of innovation in Silicon Valley and a pioneer in mobile. He is now at the University of Virginia as a Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Engineering School.

Doug has held executive roles with Yahoo!, Google, Sprint/T-Mobile, and AirTouch, leading the launch and scaling of new products, partnerships, and businesses during periods of significant industry transition. He also held leadership roles with startups including VenueNext, which was incubated by the San Francisco 49ers, and Shazam, which was funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading venture capital firm, where Doug previously served as an Executive-in-Residence. He also has been a strategic advisor/interim CXO with seed stage companies like Wand and ShoCard, both of which were subsequently acquired by public companies. Doug began his career in the U.S. Air Force and holds a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, where he served as a trustee and founded the Technology Entrepreneurship Program.
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Educational Advisory Board

Dick Crawford
Chairman

Dick is the Chairman of the Crawford Group, Inc., a multi-unit investment business with activities in agriculture, real estate, and advanced technology.

John May, MPA
Advisor

John May, MPA, is a successful venture capitalist that specializes in angel group formation. He has been actively involved in the venture capital space for north of 25 years, has co-authored and co-edited multiple books on the subject of angel investing, and has received numerous honors and awards validating his high degree of knowledge and success in the venture-investing arena.

He is currently the Investment Director and General Partner at a UK venture capital firm; a guest lecturer at the Darden School of Business; and the owner of an organization that innovatively organizes early stage private equity for entrepreneurial ventures.
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William W. Sihler
Advisor

William W. Sihler retired in 2015 after teaching corporate and institutional finance for 48 years at the University of Virginia's Colgate Darden Graduate Business School where he held the Ronald E. Trzcinski Professorship in Business Administration. 

Before coming to Darden, he taught for three years at the Harvard Business School, resigning to accept a tenured appointment at Darden. From 1977-1994 Sihler was also the Executive Director of the Center for International Banking Studies. In 1982, he received the University of Virginia's Alumni Association's Distinguished Professor Award. He has served on several corporate boards including three NYSE companies, two of whose audit committees he chaired. He authored and co-authored seven books and two books of cases, usually working closely with Richard Crawford. He earned an A.B., MBA, and DBA at Harvard University.
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Founders Advisory Council

Bryan Simms
Chair

Co-Managing Partner at DS9 Capital. Co-Founder, OrchcestraRx, a DS9 portfolio company. JP Morgan/Lazard trained banker turned insurtech corporate/business development practitioner delivering commercial pipeline to sustainably grow companies.

Most recent engagement at Traffk, a DS9 Capital Portfolio company as Head of Corporate Development . Duke undergraduate (Varsity Athlete), UVa Darden graduate, Darden Trustee Emeritus, and CavAngels Board Member Emeritus. Competitive martial arts hobbyist holding Black Belts in Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu and Muay Thai based mixed martial arts.
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Healthcare Advisory Council

Jim Daniero, MD MS
Chair

Jim Daniero, MD MS is an Otolaryngologist at UVA and an expert in laryngeal and upper airway surgery.  His clinical and research focus involves advanced techniques for upper airway reconstruction and the development of novel biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

Dr. Daniero’s training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery involves the medical and surgical care of disorders involving the head, face, and neck. Dr. Daniero also serves as the Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center and the Center for OtoRhinoLaryngology Innovation (cORLi) at UVA. These directorships allow him to fulfill his dual passions of providing cutting-edge clinical care and developing novel medical solutions. Prior to attending medical school, he completed a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology at Georgetown University, which provided a window into innovation and translational research that has remained a passion throughout his career.
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